GREENVILLE - Since last year's presidential race, where he became an icon inthe McCain campaign for the working class, the man who has becomeknown as "Joe the Plumber" has spent less time between the pipesand a lot more time at the podium.
"Instead of yelling at my TV, I can yell at people on the standand yell with them, that's how it's changed," said SamWurzelbacher, which is Joe's real name. "I actually have a voice tobe heard."
The Ohio man's voice was heard by hundreds in NortheastWisconsin on Sunday. He headlined the the event "Average Joes,Powerful Voices" at Greenville Lions Park. The "tea party" styleevent focused on taxes and government spending.
"Every American knows if you don't make enough money, you cutthings," said Wurzelbacher. "You use coupons. You don't go out onFriday night. You cut cable. For some reason the government thinksit can spend its way out of debt. Joe Biden said himself the otherday, 'it's not working, we need to spend more.' It makes nosense."
"Our government takes over far too much of our lives withoutrepresentation," said Henrietta Jacobsen of Appleton, who attendedthe event. "We are marching fast down the past of socialism."
While most of the people in the crowd, as well as the signs theybrought, supported conservative ideals, the event organizer saysthe main goal is to just get people involved in the government, nomatter how they vote in the end.
"We want to bring people together and not divide them," saidJim Steineke. "We feel most people agree on the fiscal issues, thatwe're heading down the wrong path with the bailouts and stimulusmoney."
While supporters of President Obama and his economic recoveryplan say it is important to give change time to happen.
"President Obama stepped in on day one, to one of the largestdeficits in history," said Chairman of the Democratic Party ofBrown County, Tom Sieber. "That deficit was created in large partby the Republicans. For them to be protesting President Obama whohas only been in office for six months is a little over-the-top. Imean you have got to give the guy a chance to fix the mess that hewalked into."
While "Joe-the-Plumber" says he'll keep speaking out as long aspeople will listen.
"They seem to want me to keep doing this, but if it goes away,I'll go back to my life of obscurity, happily," saidWurzelbacher.
Wurzelbacher says he does miss his old job, before politics. Hesays he tries to bring his son, who traveled with him to Wisconsin,to as many events as possible.
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